By Erin Kaberline
MOAA, USAA, and Hiring Our Heroes recently sponsored a military spouse symposium in San Antonio aimed at helping spouses enter or re-enter the workforce and move forward in their professional careers.
Progress has been made on that front, said MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), who spoke at the Oct. 1 “Keeping a Career on the Move” professional development event.
Encouraging changes have come in "everything from adjusting licensing between state boundaries to seeking employers who are veteran-friendly, who have actually made a commitment," Atkins said. "Over the last couple of years we're seeing more and more [groups] who are really committed to making opportunities" for military spouses.
Many military hiring and transition service organizations emphasize the importance of networking at professional symposiums and similar events. It is necessary to personalize interactions with potential employers and professional contacts, in person and through LinkedIn.
Other advice from the experts: Even when meeting with a military-friendly employer, research the company ahead of time to show you've done your homework.
“Prepare for every meeting - even a coffee," said Capt. Pat Cole, USN (Ret), MOAA Program Director of Transition Services. "Send a brief bio ahead of time that provides a peek at you as a courtesy to the person you'll be meeting."
Harriet Dominique, USAA Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs, encourages spouses to chase opportunities that would provide them with the knowledge needed to build their careers. She also believes military spouses should be their authentic selves during interviews and, once they land a job, at work.
“If you ever have a shred of doubt in yourself, the best gift you have to offer is you,” Dominique said.